Having suffered three defeats in a row – two in the league against promotion chasing clubs sandwiching the narrow one-point loss in the Siam Cup – Guernsey are taking the opportunity against National Two South’s bottom side to freshen things up as they aim to return to winning ways.
Tom Creed will be making his first start in the second row while hooker Dan Morgan comes in for Tom Ceillam, who was injured last week at Clifton, although the Guernsey stalwart may still make the bench depending on a late fitness test.
James Burger also comes into the pack for the sidelined Hugo Culverhouse.
In the backline, Charlie Davies will start in midfield outside young fly-half Dan Rice.
‘Some of the changes are performance-based, some are a case of resting players and some are because we want to see some different combinations,’ said Raiders director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.
‘We want to see Charlie Davies in at 12 and Ciaran McGann, whose last game was a while ago at Barnes, will definitely get some decent minutes off the bench too.
‘We opted to use this opportunity to rest Owen Thomas and give game-time to Dan Rice. We are more than comfortable going with him at 10.
‘Tom Creed gets his first start. He has been pretty close before and this week we have decided to make these changes and hopefully he takes his chance with both hands.’
Despite their recent downturn in results against quality opposition, Raiders will still be firm favourites tomorrow against a side who have yet to register a win this season.
‘Westcliff are struggling with injuries – we’ve been there before and know what that’s like,’ Reynolds said.
‘One thing you see with Westcliff, though, is that they never give up and they have scored some pretty good tries this season. Individually, they have some good players.
‘They will be a gritty side and we will give them their due. They will be coming over looking to cause us problems and put us under pressure.’
As well as targeting a victory, Reynolds wants to see a specific improvement from his troops.
‘Usually, the hardest thing teams have to do is create opportunities, but that’s something we have done in abundance – it’s the finishing them off we have been working on.
‘We have been getting frustrated from our performances and that’s mainly from not putting those opportunities away, so what we are trying to do in training is allow the players to relax a bit more.
‘At the end of the day, it’s a game which we enjoy so we want to make sure we are not over-thinking it too much.’
Raiders v. Westcliff kicks off at 2pm tomorrow at Footes Lane.
Steventon, Morgan, Currie, Hillier, Creed, Burger, Dom Rice, Horrocks, Simmonds, Dan Rice, Roberts, Davies, Smith, A Armstrong, Andresen. Replacements: Bellingham, Ceillam (tbc), Webb, McGann, Rutledge.